American Indian Theme IV depicts a select part of a wooden surface, the trunk of a tree or perhaps the belly of a totem pole. Dark pigments are used to indicate the depth of the carvings where the tiny square eyes, the downturned mouth and cross shaped nose sit. Similar to the boldly gazing eye captured in Lichtenstein’s American Indian Theme IIIof the same series, a fierce expression is fixed upon the figure’s face.
A bright yellow braided piece of rope is wrapped around the jagged right edge, while maroon coloured threads poke out of the holes located along the left side of the wood. The rope and the ragged detail in particular are both recurring elements featured in Lichtenstein’s American Indian Theme series. The composition is fastened on a white background, reminiscent of a newly developed photograph being placed on a light table, illuminated from below.
American Indian Theme IV ponders the representation of indigenous artefacts, as well as referencing the visual style of mass produced contemporary printed materials.